Having my first child left scars on my body. I would never be the same. For God’s sake, for the first couple days, I thought I’d never feel human again. I felt like walking, talking, lactating, bee-stung, meat. Like one big ouch. Then I’d look around me and see women who were walking normally, wearing jeans, and sitting in chairs without cushions. There were masses of women on the street and I’d think, “She had a child, and she’s fine. No scars or anything I can see. She’s even beautiful.”
It gave me hope. It let me know I would be human again. By the second child, I could tell myself, “remember, you felt like swollen hamburger last time, but you recovered. You Will Recover.” I still had trouble believing it days afterwards, as I lowered myself, shaky and weak, breasts swollen to the size of my head and hard as rocks, genitals split and re-stitched, tummy stretched out and now empty, into the tub. I had survived it the first time, so the odds were good that I would be back to normal eventually.
My ‘normal’ changed. With both boys I got new scars and stretches that will never go away. But I got these great little consolation prizes. I’d like to be able to go comfortably without a bra or run a sprint without wetting myself, but would I trade these things for my kids? Most days, no.
My mom’s sickness and death has left me with different scars, they’ll never go away either. They’re scars on my psyche, on my soul. Realizations that I will never be able to un-realize. I guess I’ll get used to them and make them part of the new me. I’ll start to feel normal again. I don’t have that terrible stinging pain, like when I had my kids. It’s more of a general achiness, a void.
I did have a bit of a breakdown a couple months after she died, where it all came crashing down on me. The enormity of someone I felt such a connection to being no more. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t good, it wasn’t right and it didn’t even make sense for a person who was so completely human, three dimensional and alive, to simply not be. It cracks open your mind, destroys it for a while. Then you start to rebuild, but it’ll never be the same.